Syro-Phoenician Woman

Mark 7: 24 - 30

Historical Background of Mark's Gospel

Mark wrote his Gospel around South Galilee or Syria, and the reader knows this because the Gospel is written in Greek. Mark's Gospel was writen during the Jewish Revolt, which took place during the times of 66 - 73 CE. The author for this Gospel is still unknown , and the Gospel was written for Diaspora Jews and Gentiles. He wrote the Gospel to try and reunite the faith of those that didnt believe.

The Story of the Syro-Phoenician Woman

[A] woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about [Jesus], and came and fell down at his feet. The woman was a Greek, by race a Phoenician from Syria. And she started asking him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He responded to her like this: "Let the children first be fed, since it isn't good to take bread out of children's mouths and throw it to the dogs! [kynaria]" But as a rejoinder she says to him: "Sir, even the dogs under the table get to eat scraps dropped by children!" Then he said to her: "For that retort, be on your way, the demon has come out of your daughter." She returned home and found the child lying on the bed and the demon gone (Mk. 7:25-30).

The Deeper Understanding of the Passage.

The setting of this passage is located in Tyre. At the beginning of the story, Jesus is a Messiah for the Jews, but later converts to a Messiah for everyone. In this passage a woman approaches Jesus and asks him to heal her daughter for she is possessed by a demon. During this time period, adults would eat first, and the children would get whatever was left over. Jesus refers to the woman as a dog. At that time, dogs were referred to as unclean animals. He says, "Let the children first be fed, since it isn't good to take bread out of children's mouths and throw it to the dogs!" The woman fights Jesus' metaphor with a metaphor of her own. She says, ""Sir, even the dogs under the table get to eat scraps dropped by children!" With that statement, the woman makes Jesus understand her situation. She is implying that even the children share their food with the dogs. With that, Jesus converts to not only a Messiah for the Jews, but also a Messiah for all.

Concluding the Story

The story of the Syro-Phoenician woman was a form of a miracle story. Jesus heals a demoniac. In past exorcisms, Jesus is up close and touching the demoniac in order to heal them. In this story, there is no physical confrontation. This story is a huge controversy. Why, you may ask? Well, Jesus helped a Gentile. When the woman approached Jesus, Jesus was only a Messiah for the Jews. After the woman used her metaphor to explain her situation to Jesus, Jesus converted to a Messiah for all.